Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be challenging as a woman’s body goes through many changes. Eating and drinking the right things during this time is important to help support the health of both mother and baby. One question that often comes up is what juices are safe and beneficial to drink in the first trimester of pregnancy. The first trimester lasts from conception to week 13 of pregnancy and is an important time of growth and development for the baby. Let’s take a look at some of the best juice options for the first trimester.
Benefits of Juice in the 1st Trimester
Drinking fruit and vegetable juices can provide many benefits during the first trimester:
- Juices provide hydration, which is important as blood volume increases during pregnancy.
- They supply key vitamins and minerals like folate, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C that support maternal and fetal health.
- Juices can be an excellent way to get nutrients if dealing with morning sickness and food aversions.
- The liquid form allows for easy digestion and absorption.
- Juices made from leafy greens provide folate to help prevent neural tube defects in baby.
- Some juices contain ginger and lemon which can help ease nausea.
Getting nutrients from fresh juices can give a great boost during a time when nutrient needs are increased. However, it’s important not to drink only juice as you still need protein, fat and fiber from whole foods. Juice should be used to supplement a healthy diet, not replace meals and snacks.
Best Juices for the First Trimester
When choosing juices in the first trimester, focus on varieties that provide key nutrients and hydration. Here are some of the top juices to consider:
Orange juice is a great choice in early pregnancy thanks to its vitamin C and folate content. One cup provides over 100% of the RDI for vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that supports the immune system and promotes iron absorption. It also contains about 14% of the RDI for folate which helps prevent neural tube defects and aids in cell growth and DNA production. Look for 100% orange juice and avoid added sugars. Pasteurized orange juice is safe during pregnancy.
Apple juice packs hydration and nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and iron. It provides bioflavonoids which have antioxidant effects to help counter inflammation and oxidative stress. And it contains pectin, a soluble fiber that can help alleviate constipation by adding bulk to stools. Select unfiltered, 100% apple juice and steer clear of added sweeteners.
Prune juice is an excellent choice if you’re struggling with constipation in the first trimester. It contains sorbitol, a natural laxative that helps draw water into the intestines to relieve constipation. Prunes are also high in fiber. Drink a small glass daily as needed for constipation relief. Be sure to stay hydrated when drinking prune juice.
Pomegranate juice provides antioxidants and polyphenols that help counter inflammation and free radical damage. It also supplies vitamin C, folate, potassium and iron. Look for 100% pure pomegranate juice without added sugars. Drink in moderation due to the natural sugars.
The fluid from young, green coconuts provides electrolytes like potassium, magnesium and manganese along with antioxidants. This makes it great for hydration. It also contains amino acids, vitamin C, B vitamins and minerals. Look for plain coconut water without added sugars or flavors.
For a nutrient boost, make vegetable juices using greens like spinach, kale or collard greens along with carrots, tomatoes, beets and cucumbers. The greens provide folate, vitamins A, C and K, while the carrots and beets add vitamin C and carotenoids. Cucumber brings hydration. Vegetable juices pack minerals as well. Drink them fresh and keep servings reasonable due to the natural sugars.
Although not a juice, lemon water is a great low-calorie beverage for the first trimester. Adding fresh lemon juice to water gives you vitamin C and antioxidants, and the lemon flavor can help relieve nausea. Drink lemon water hot or cold. Use 1/2 a fresh lemon in 8-12 ounces of water.
Ginger Tea or Juice
Ginger is known for its ability to ease nausea and vomiting. Drink ginger tea made from fresh grated ginger steeped in hot water. You can also juice fresh ginger root and add to fruit or vegetable juices. Use moderate amounts of ginger as it may exacerbate heartburn.
Juices to Avoid or Limit
While most juices are safe in moderation in the first trimester, there are some types that should be limited or avoided:
- Grapefruit juice – Can interact with medications and affects absorption.
- Green tea – Contains caffeine, limit to 2 cups per day.
- Herbal tea – Not all varieties are safe, so check with your doctor.
- Large amounts of carrot or beet juice – High natural sugars.
- Unpasteurized juice – Risk of food-borne illnesses.
It’s also best to avoid juice drinks with added sugars or artificial ingredients. Read labels and stick to pure, 100% fruit and vegetable juices.
Tips for Drinking Juice in Early Pregnancy
Here are some tips for safely incorporating juice into your diet during the first trimester:
- Drink only pasteurized or freshly made juices.
- Limit fruit juice to 1 small glass (4 oz) per day to control natural sugars.
- Eat whole fruits and veggies too – don’t rely only on juice.
- Pair juices rich in vitamin C with iron sources to increase absorption.
- If making vegetable juices, include leafy greens for folate.
- Use a straw to prevent contact of juices with teeth.
- Rinse your mouth with water after drinking citrus juices.
- Store fresh juices in a tightly sealed container and drink within 24 hours.
The Bottom Line
Drinking nourishing juices can provide hydration, nutrition and relief from common complaints like nausea during the first trimester. Focus on juices with key nutrients like vitamin C, folate, magnesium and potassium from fruits and veggies. Always incorporate juices along with a balanced diet and speak to your doctor about any concerns. With some mindfulness, juice can be a healthy part of pregnancy nutrition.
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